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Can I claim my girlfriend as a dependent and her kids as qualifying children?

Asked by: livingeditor 760 views YA Discussion

They have lived with me all year. Neither one of us is married and she is a stay at home Mom. They are not my children, only hers. I’ve been told because she has no income, I can claim her as a dependent. (What would I choose for the relationship? i.e son, daughter etc..) Can I claim her children as qualifying children and get EIC and Child Tax Credit? If so how?

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5 Answers



  1. Bostonian In MO on Oct 26, 2012 Reply

    You cannot claim the children under the Qualifying Child rule because you are not their parent and are not married to their mother. You might be able to claim her and the children under the Qualifying Relative rule.

    You can claim an unrelated person as a dependent under the Qualifying Relative rule if ALL of the following conditions are met:

    1. The person is a US citizen or resident of the US, Canada or Mexico.

    2. The person is not the Qualifying Child of another taxpayer.

    3. The person does not file a joint return with another taxpayer.

    4. The person lived in your home for the entire tax year.

    5. The person had less than the personal exemption amount ($ 3,800 for 2012) in gross income (excluding only non-taxable Social Security) for the entire year. Gross income includes all income from all sources before any deductions whatsoever, including normal business expense deductions.

    6. The person received more than 50% of their total support from you for the entire year. (Any child support or public assistance that the mother receives works against you here.)

    7. There is no state law or local law or ordinance that prohibits cohabitation. Any such law or ordinance, even if unenforced, kills the exemption. Mississippi, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, North Dakota and Michigan still have laws that prohibit cohabitation as do a number of cities, towns and counties throughout the country. (This rule applies to your g/f but not to her children.

    If you can claim the person, you only get the exemption. No Head of Household filing status, no EIC, no Child Tax Credit, etc. (This is critically important. Don’t even think of trying to claim the EIC or filing as HoH.)

    See IRS Pub 501 http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p501.pdf for more information.

    Since you are not related to any of them, the relationship is “Other.”

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  2. Spock (rhp) on Oct 26, 2012 Reply

    oh, you have to PROVE that you provided over 1/2 their support.

    for the kids, that means if they’re on Medicaid, that’s support you did NOT provide. If they’re on food assistance, that’s support you did NOT provide. if she gets child support from their daddy, that’s support you did NOT provide.

    give up yet?

    read the detailed instructions to form 1040 for the rest –

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  3. acmeraven on Oct 26, 2012 Reply

    This is a cloud with a silver lining type answer. Basing this on 41 years experience and the intel you provided—since she has no income & I assume the children have no income; and, there is nobody else she releases a dependency to with form 8332. You provide over half the support and yadda; then you can claim a dependency for her and each child. Since you do not meet the relationship test you cannot be a head of household nor can you collect EIC or CTC. Should you get married on the 31st of December at one minute to midnight then the IRS considers you married for the entire year and all the bounty of parenthood and etc will fall on top of your wallet. You can go to IRS.GOV and download or order a free PUB 17 and look over the flow charts and etc if you want to explore the wonderful world of tax hell for yourself.

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  4. Wayne Z on Oct 26, 2012 Reply

    Unrelated persons can not be “Qualifying Children”.

    The can be “Qualifying Relatives” but that would only give you the personal exemption. (No EIC, No Child Tax Credit, No Head of Household.)

    ….and yes, the IRS does check.

    Many people have had their financial lives torn asunder because they lied on their tax return about their relationship to the kids.

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  5. tro on Oct 26, 2012 Reply

    if they have all lived in your household the ENTIRE year, you provide more than 50% of their support, they have not earned $ 3800 and most likely they cannot be claimed on the tax return of anyone else they are all qualifying relatives
    since you are not married you cannot claim the EIC
    the g/f and children are ‘other’, the children are not yours biologically and you are not married to their mother where they would be stepchildren

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